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A Critical Look at Forced Fetching

After you read our article about why we do NOT think forced fetching is the best method, please watch our video on our FetchMasters Postitive Trained Retrieve!

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A Critical Look at Forced Fetching

Is forced fetching the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand?
By: Thomas Aaron

Forced fetching has become a deeply entrenched method for training gun dogs to retrieve. Many claims are made about its effectiveness – some downright mythical. For example, a quick Google search for forced fetching will unearth (un-web?) many claims that are some flavor of “forced fetching is the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand.”

Book Review: British Training for American Retrievers

British Training for American Retrievers is a good read, peppered with British Humor and filled with expert advice from highly credentialed British gun dog trainer, Vic Barlow.

From the perspective of a positive gun dog trainer, of whom there are relatively few, Mr. Barlow takes a refreshingly anti-shock collar stance on training gun dogs. He also shuns the use of "forced fetching." Instead, he advocates slow, methodical, quality training and incremental increases in criteria to develop a rock-solid hunting dog. He also insists on building a respect-based relationship between the dog and trainer/owner/handler -- a relationship in which success is rewarded and infractions are addressed.

Why Does My Dog Chew, Jump, Bite, Bark and Whine?

As is my custom, when I find myself teaching clients a particular lesson over and over, I immortalize the lesson in writing. So, here goes ...

Pretty much every dog I train has some sort of behavior "problem." I enclose "problem" in quotation marks because that is what humans call it ... but that's rarely what it actually is. More accurately, the "problem" is just a simple dog behavior, such as chewing, barking, jumping up on people, nipping, whining, etc. Those are "problems" for us, but they are just ... what dogs do.

Why Should You Choose Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?

A new client recently asked me why he should pursue positive, reward-based training over a more punishment-based method. To be honest, I really appreciate questions like that.

It is easy for positive reinforcement trainers to assume clients are already committed proponents of dog-friendly training. But they often call us simply because they saw our advertisement or because a friend referred them to us.

Your Dog: Dumb, Defiant, or Stressed?

Nobody promised me a rose garden, but sometimes I wish someone would have. Life has been stressful lately: teenager issues, running a business, multiple projects with tight deadlines, financial obligations -- you know, the same junk you deal with. But when life is stressful, I put on a happy face, work hard and try not to burden others with it.

However, my wife knows me well enough to tell when I am stressed, and she admonishes me to lighten my load, breathe and stop driving like a moron. But you probably won't know I am stressed unless I reveal it to you because I am clever and have a vested interest (which I like to call professionalism) in keeping myself to myself.

Dogs, however, are more honest than I am. They have no interest in being professional.

Confessions of a Dog Trainer: When Your Dog Teaches You He Is Not a Robot

Today, I took my dogs out for a romp in a nearby field so that they could burn off some steam. About five minutes into our expedition, I noticed my coonhound, Roscoe, had his nose to the ground behind some weeds. I called him, and he did not come.

The Real Dog Training Secret

There is a dog training program advertised online as "The Dog Training Secret." It claims to be able to cure 19 of your dog's behavior woes in just 6 days. Truth is, there are no secrets in dog training - although there are trainers akin to snake oil salesmen who would suggest otherwise.

Based on my research, Chet Womach's "The Dog Training Secret" mostly is simple positive reinforcement training and behavior shaping with a clicker. Effective? Sure. Secret? Hardly.

Dog Training Tips for the Impatient Owner

Here is a list of phrases I catch myself saying often enough that I thought they were worth memorializing. Most of them are geared towards teaching dog owners to exercise patience when training their dogs. If you have any to add to the list, I would love to hear them.

Denver's Leash Law

  • Dogs in Denver public parks must be on leash.
  • The ordinance does not specify the length of the leash.
  • The ordinance does specify that the leash be held.
  • Dogs may only be off-leash at designated off-leash enclosures.
  • 1st Violation - $80; 2nd Violation - $150; 3rd Violation & subsequent: $300

HERE is a link to the ordinance.

HERE is a link to a PDF of the ordinance.

Tips for Dealing with Destructive Chewing

It does not take long for chewing-obsessed dogs to do a lot of damage. They can turn the legs of wooden furniture into sawdust, ventilate your shoes, make your shag carpet bald and un-upholsterer your furniture. The good news is, destructive chewing usually is easy to stop.

Here are a few tips for dealing with destructive chewing: